Algonquin to consider billboard moratorium

ALGONQUIN – The village is considering whether to ask the county for a moratorium on applications for billboards, especially for electronic signs.

The county is working on updating its Unified Development Ordinance that would, among other things, provide limitations to off-premises signs including billboards, both plain and electronic.

The county recently received two more applications for electronic billboards, one on Algonquin Road near Dennis Avenue and one on Route 31 near Oakwood and Linden avenues, Community Development Director Russell Farnum wrote in a village memo.

Several other billboards have been built along Algonquin Road, most of which have yet to be leased, Farnum wrote.

“Obviously there is an intent on the part of outdoor advertising sign companies to get their uses established prior to the county’s adoption of the pending Unified Development Ordinance, which would add more regulation to such signs and also make them a conditional use,” Farnum wrote.

The village plans to ask the county to adopt a moratorium on all new or pending permits for billboards until the Unified Development Ordinance is adopted.

In the proposed resolution, the village cites a study by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation that said an electronic sign along Interstate 94 in Milwaukee had an effect on traffic, most notably with the increase of sideswipe accidents.

The village also says in the resolution that the billboards lead to a decrease in real estate values.

“In light of the race by the sign companies to beat the new ordinance, the deleterious and blighting effects created by billboards, and the likelihood that new regulations would help minimize such effects, passage of the resolution is recommended,” Farnum wrote.

Both Lakewood and Crystal Lake have adopted resolutions asking for a moratorium on applications for electronic billboards.

County Board members are in the process of reviewing the Unified Development Ordinance, which may come up for a vote in the Planning and Development Committee this week.

However, a vote by the full County Board may not come until January.

Tina Hill, chairwoman of the county’s Planning and Development Committee, said she supports a moratorium on new billboards. She said there have been many permit applications from billboard companies trying to beat the possible regulations.

“I don’t want a bunch of billboards we will have to grandfather in,” Hill said.

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